KABUL (AFP) – About 80 inmates in Afghanistan’s main jail have forced scores more into pretending to be on a hunger strike that started 10 days ago, even sewing closed the lips of 40, the prisons chief said.
The strike at Kabul’s Pul-i-Charki prison started three days after 15 convicts were executed on October 7 on various criminal charges.
Officials said then that inmates were protesting against a flawed judicial process.
But prison chief Abdul Salam Asmat told AFP the point of the strike was unclear and a commission from the government, parliament, United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross had been set up to hear their demands.
He also cast doubt on whether all the prisoners were refusing food, as they claimed, and said most of them were being forced into the action in one four-floor block of the jail on the outskirts of the capital.
“In two floors 240 prisoners are apparently on a hunger strike,” he told AFP. “The 80 leaders have forced 40 inmates to sew up lips and have forced 140 to join them in their strike,” he said.
“They are not on a total, real hunger strike,” he said. “They had stored some food stuff before. And also since two floors receive food they share and pretend they are on strike.”
Asmat had said earlier most of the striking prisoners were linked with the extremist Taliban and Al-Qaeda groups that are behind an anti-government insurgency launched six years ago.